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Common Heartburn Drugs Linked to Hip Fracture

News round up on popular heartburn drugs and a link to increased hip fractures. 

The New York Times ran an AP wire story.

Study Finds a Link Between Some Heartburn Drugs and Hip Injuries in People Over 50

CHICAGO, Dec. 26 (AP) — People over 50 who took popular heartburn drugs for a year or more had a significant increase in the risk of breaking a hip, a large study in Britain found.

The drugs are taken by millions of people who suffer from a condition in which stomach acid backs up into the esophagus.

The researchers speculated that by reducing acid in the stomach, the drugs also make it more difficult for the body to absorb calcium, which can lead to weaker bones and fractures.

Hip fractures in the elderly often lead to life-threatening complications. Consequently, doctors should not keep patients on the drugs long term without good reason, said Dr. Yu-Xiao Yang of the  University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, an author of the study.

Men in the study had a higher risk of hip fracture than women, possibly because women may be more aware of osteoporosis and may get more calcium in their diets, Dr. Yang said.

The study is being published on Wednesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association. reported Popular heartburn drugs linked to hip fracture

Taking such popular heartburn drugs as Nexium, Prevacid or Prilosec for a year or more can raise the risk of a broken hip markedly in people over 50, a large study in Britain found.

The study raises questions about the safety of some of the most widely used and heavily promoted prescription drugs on the market, taken by millions of people.

The Boston Globe ran a Reuters wire story.

Fracture Risk, Medication Linked 

CHICAGO -- Long-term use of popular antiheartburn drugs such as Nexium and Prevacid increase the risk of hip fractures in adults over 50, perhaps because the drugs inhibit calcium absorption, researchers said yesterday.

The class of drugs -- called proton pump inhibitors -- shut down stomach acid production, providing relief for millions of patients who suffer from acid-related stomach problems, including ulcers and gastro-esophageal reflux.

But the researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that a longterm reduction in acid levels may carry somewhat more risk than previously recognized.

Their study of nearly 150,000 Britons older than 50 found that those undergoing antiheartburn drug therapy had a 44 percent greater risk of hip fracture than those who were not taking the drugs.

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